Friday, October 19, 2012

making a list, checking it twice.

I am glad to report that I found a new church, after much church shopping, and I was so blessed to experience a beautiful communion on my first visit. I wrote about it in this week's edition of A Love Like This on the Circle of Friends website, which I've included below. Enjoy and have a great Friday. It IS on my to-do list to write a little about my home decor projects, but I haven't been able to finish any of them for the before and after pictures just yet. When I do, this will be the first place I brag about it.

A Love Like This
I love lists. To do lists, goal lists, grocery lists, you name it. All around my house and in my purse and at my desk at work there are notepads and little journals and old bank statement envelopes with lists scribbled all over them.

Lists make me feel organized and efficient. They help me clear my thoughts. I write to do lists for the next work day so that I’m not frazzled the next time I get into the office with which tasks need to be done. I make lists when I clean the house because somehow seeing a completed list, covered in thick, dark lines crossed through each item makes me feel more accomplished than even doing the job in the first place. I write pros and cons when I’m weighing a heavy decision, I make little lists of things I want to include in emails to R while he’s away, I even write things on a list that I’ve already done, just to feel the satisfaction of crossing it off. (C’mon, raise your hand if you’ve done this, too.  I can’t be the only one!)

I make mental lists, too. The lists of things I am constantly aware of, but I don’t want in writing as a reminder. On one side of this list are the Things I’ve Done Right and on the other are the Things I’ve Failed At. Woke up early, did my quiet time, ate well, worked out; they all go on the good side. I’m lucky if I manage a few good successes a day. But it seems nothing is too big or small to go on the failed side; slept in, disorganized, didn’t write, late for work, quick to anger, judgmental, not fit enough, not pretty enough, and on and on.
Then something happened as I took communion this past Sunday. As I held that little chuck of bread in my hand, soaked in grape juice, mentally going over my week of failures big and small, I realized that somewhere along the way, I believed this was how Jesus kept rack of my life. Somehow I managed to believe that he keeps a big list in two columns and is always watching me, evaluating, ever recording my successes and failures. When my successes outweigh my failures, then I am welcomed into his arms, filled with the lightness of knowing I’m loved and the feeling of being favored. But when my failures have stacked up too high, because of my selfishness or because I simply didn’t measure up despite my trying, then I am cast out, unable to approach the throne because I am sinful and disobedient. Better luck tomorrow.

Oh I’ve got it so wrong, don’t I? I asked as I stared at that little piece of bread saturated in red.

My shoulders relaxed and my eyes closed as I took communion, letting the reality of grace wash over me. I sat there for a long time, eyes closed, sheepishly imagining my Father erasing my lists, assuring me that I can’t fail big enough to separate myself from his love. I sat there, smiling with eyes closed while he wrapped his arms around me and brought verse and after sweet verse to mind to assure me that his grace really is amazing.

If you’re reading this, I’m praying he speaks the same sweet promise deep into your hurting heart and you watch on in joy as he erases your lists. 

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